On Thursday we went with our charter school on a tour of the Arcata-Eureka Airport. Actually, it was recently renamed The California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport. What a mouthful. I get changing it, since the airport is located solidly on the outskirts of McKinleyville, well north of both Arcata and Eureka. But that was the best they could come up with, the name that more people consented to? The California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport. Really? But, I digress.

kids lined up at the window looking out at an airplane on the tarmac

The thing that bugged me the most was that our tour guide didn’t have a good rapport with the kids. When we had to wait, like at the security check when we waited for all the passengers to board so we could go behind the scenes, she had almost nothing to say to the children, and we just stood there in silence for minutes on end. Being at loose ends, my kids tried to kick each other and stomp on each others feet and make jokes unrelated to airports or planes. So it was a bit of a trial. AND our guide would spend the downtime looking at her phone and even texting, smiling as she did so. Then looked as serious as a statue when she was addressing the school group. Sheesh.

listening to our guide

I’m just going to come out and say it. Some parts of this field trip were awesome. Well, one part. The fire truck part. The rest of it was long and tedious. Exactly like waiting an hour and half for a flight, only after all that waiting, we didn’t get to fly anywhere. But we did get to go on the super fancy Striker fire truck at the end, which was five minutes of total awesomeness.

So it was an interesting mixed experience, to say the least.

small airplane parked on the runway and a wide foggy sky stretching out above the tree line in the distance

Isn’t it beautiful though? This scene made me think of Alaska. I’ve never been, but I imagine it looks a lot like this.

cool silver reflective firefighting gear jackets, pants, helmets

The Striker a neon yellow super fire truck which looks like a tank

The Striker is the most advanced type of fire truck available. The reason for having one at the airport is that most fires there would be airplane fuel fires, which are extra hot. Although, the firefighter admitted that because it is such a small airport and only small planes fly in and out, the regulation does not require a Striker. They could have a less fancy fire truck, but I could tell all the firefighters were stoked on the Striker. And we were, too. They took us all, in small groups, in the cockpit. The firefighter piloting the truck drove it a ways, sprayed the hoses, told us about the features, and then drove it back to the fire house. It has two high powered hoses, one on the roof and one on the grill which are both controlled from inside the the truck. It also has a heat seeking unit with a nine inch screen on the dashboard for locating fires, or hotspots. And the Striker is armored like a tank. What’s not to like?

That was certainly the highlight of the field trip. If not for that, I would certainly have wished we’d skipped the whole thing.